Monday, July 18, 2005
Cool Application Just Got Cooler
Well, okay, I’m two months late. Nevertheless, EarthDesk was recently updated to version 3, and it absolutely rocks.
Those of you who read ATPM may remember my review from when it was still version 1.2.5. One of the things many people repeatedly asked for was the ability to download cloud cover information in real time. This has been added to version 3, and it’s pretty slick. EarthDesk 3 also sports higher resolution map images and improved robustness.
Another nifty feature is that if a particular view of the Earth doesn’t completely fill your screen, you can optionally show the original underlying desktop image. My main monitor is full-screen of a Mercator projection, but my secondary monitor shows a standard globe. I’m currently keeping my eyes open for some sort of nifty substitute for the default black that normally surrounds the globe. I feel as though I’d like to put a starfield, but that’s not realistic. If you expose a photo long enough to see stars, the Earth would be much too bright. That’s why you never see stars in video that comes back from the Space Shuttle with the sun-lit Earth below.
I’d still like to see EarthDesk as a menubar or System Preference item instead of an application occupying the dock—especially now that version 3 only runs on Mac OS X (prior versions would run on both OS 9 and X, thus requiring it to remain as a standard application). Otherwise, EarthDesk earns high marks from me!
By the way, there’s is good news for the many people who have stopped by my office or been near me with my laptop who are stuck in Windows-world and gave me nasty looks when I said this particular product was only out for Mac. The developer is currently working on a Windows XP version. You can sign up on the web site for notification when it is released as well as request to be on the beta testing team.
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